Social media is great. Seriously, I love the pastime. It’s funny, because when I first got started with social media, I never really thought that it would become anything more than a way for me to stay connected with distant friends and family members. Years later, I’m seeing that the medium is so much more.
My Personal Experience
In fact, at least in my case, it’s become a healthy part of my career. While a tremendous blessing, the all-encompassing, ever-present nature of social media can be hard to deal with if you’re as obsessive-compulsive as I am.
It used to be that I only lived for the thrill of work-related email. Yup, that’s an actual thing. Crazy, huh? If you wanted anything from me, all you had to do was shoot me an email and I’d literally respond within five minutes.
When social media came along, the high of push notifications was almost more than I could bear. It became a type of heroin, believe it or not. However, as time went on, I soon recognized that this had to change.
Listen, I’m not trying to turn this post into an addiction recovery bit or compare social media cravings to a dependence on illegal drugs or prescription medications, but a social media strategist’s happiness can take a severe hit when there’s no real disconnect between work and home life. I get that on call social interaction is of the utmost importance, but there’s a clear line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Identifying a Problem
How do you know when said line has been crossed? Well, there are a number of indications. For starters, if you simply can’t get your mind off of a client’s social presence—regardless of platform, for that matter—it might be time to figuratively press pause. Oftentimes, this is made manifest by the continual checking of a smartphone.
Additionally, if you’ve found that social media has started to distract you from other responsibilities—be they professional or personal—consider giving things a rest. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely do away with any and all social media practices. In fact, rarely is this a necessary or realistic answer.
For some, in fact, such an act might cause a job to be unnecessarily placed in jeopardy. Whatever the situation, there are a number of responses to help solve the dilemma:
- Reevaluate Audience Interaction - Not every social channel works for any given industry. Take a step back and look at where your current social strategy directs its various efforts. Odds are, if some time has passed since your last social audit occurred, there are some networks being used that see very little user engagement. Basically, if an audience isn’t there, there’s no sense in wasting energy. Cut the cord and move on.
- Schedule Social Posts - More than likely, you’re already doing this one through Hootsuite, Sprout Social or any other social-scheduling program. That stated, if in need of a break, schedule out a month’s worth of top-tier posts. That way, you can relax while social is still somewhat being addressed.
- Cease to Participate - When this method is put into practice, there’s no liking, sharing, following or favoriting. Sure, this requires some real determination, but it can be super effective when done properly.
- Temporarily Deactivate an Account - Not everyone is tough enough to just quit things cold turkey. Sound like you? Instead of throwing in the towel, temporarily deactivate your account. Usually, within a month’s time, it can be fully restored.
- Permanently Delete an Account - This isn’t as drastic as it sounds, but it really should be seen only as a final solution. Unless you’re absolutely certain this is what you want, opt for something slightly less final.
Undeniably, social media has become an increasingly important part of digital PR. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to get involved. But, if social media becomes one of those “too much of a good thing” sort of issues, look to cut back. Once things are back under control and your sanity has been regained, you’ll dive back into social and be more effective than ever before.
So, now that my words have been shared, what do you think? How much social is too much social? What are some of the tell-tale signs of a person who can’t get his or her social involvement under control? More importantly, how can an out-of-control social habit be overcome? As always, please publish your thoughts in the comments section below.
Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.